Flip MinoHD Workflows

As I’ve written before I picked up a Flip Mino HD in a previous post.

Overall I’ve liked the camera. Most of the time I’m shooting home videos and the posting the videos to Vimeo for family or loading them onto a MacMini we have connected to out TV.

This week I actually used it at work. The Children’s Ministry wanted to put up a quick promo video online for a special class they are doing. It was going to be a talking head kind of video. They were going to shoot it using the iSight camera on a MacBook. I was about to set up the HVX-200 but then I remembered the Flip and thought I’d give it a shot.

Since my last post I’ve experimented a bit with the workflow for editing the videos:
Bundled FlipShare software: Simple enough but I’m not wild about it

-iMovie08: Works well but it generates thumbnails on import, a time consuming process.

-Premiere Pro CS3: Doesn’t recognize the native file. You would have to transcode to another format.

-Final Cut Pro 6: It doesn’t like the native file format. I’m running FCP 6.0.5. There are no presets for MPEG4 editing. So I let FCP adjust the sequence setting to match the clips from the Flip.I’ve run into two problems: 

1) Audio previews fine in the viewer but has to be rendered in the sequence. This maybe because I’m missing something simple but changing the sequence audio settings to 44.1 to match doesn’t help. I’ve gotten so used to working with DV and then footage from the HVX-200 I’m not used to trouble shooting different formats. 

2) The other problem I’ve run into is after I get around 10 clips in my timeline I get a “General Error” and my canvas window goes red with white text saying “Display Unavailable. Close and Reopen Window To Restore”. Once I close the window and open the window I get the general error again followed by an out of memory error. Restarting FCP doesn’t help. Trashing preferences doesn’t help. It’s like the project file gets corrupted and then you have to start over and hope you don’t run into the problem again, but around 10 clips the problem happens again. That’s why I don’t use FCP with the native files.
3) I’ve used compressor to transcode the files into other formats (ProRes, AIC, HDV) and all worked fine. It just takes time and disk space. 

-iMovieHD seems to be the best. If it recognizes the Flip as a camera it doesn’t import correctly. I’ve found it best to drag the files off the Flip via the Finder and then import into iMovieHD as files. It imports faster than iMovie08 and has a better feature set than iMovie08.

So the workflow I’ve settled on is using iMoveHD to edit footage from the Flip. If you have a mac that came with iMove 08 you can download iMoveHD here.

I’ll post the video from this shot tomorrow as I talk about how to get the video online.


January 20, 2009. Tech Stuff, Video, Web Development.


  1. Jaqai replied:

    Greetings. I’ve been stumbling upon the same issue – the “general error” issue. (Which, by the way…is a rather difficult error to troubleshoot.)

    I’d much prefer to use FCP as part of the reason for this “video blog” exercise is for me to get a bit quicker with FCP. (My roots are in premiere.)

    Have you discovered any other possible plugin’s/work arounds for the flip video to play nicer with FCP native?


  2. Dave replied:

    I have not found a working solution for native MPEG4 files from the Flip Mino HD in FCP.

    For working in FCP you’re best off using Compressor to transcode to another format, HDV or ProRes are going to be your best solution. HDV will take up about 13 GB/hour while ProRes can take between 65-99GB/hour.

    If you’re wanting to work native you’re best off with iMovie 09. It’s supposed to have better support than any other iMovie.

  3. Steve Garfield replied:

    People use MPEG Streamclip to transcode MP4 videos to another format that FCP likes. I use DV.

  4. Dave replied:

    For me I don’t want to downsize my HD footage to DV. I understand and agree if that works for you.

  5. taymoss replied:

    Has anyone tried CS4 compatibility?

  6. Dave replied:

    I don’t have CS4 but you can download a demo from Adobe’s site. I did contact Flip about my problem and they pointed me to a firmware update for the camera. It seems to have fixed my problem. You can read more about it here: http://creativechurchmedia.net/?p=652

  7. keyrat replied:

    I shot 20 videos with the Mino HD this weekend, and for some reason 8 of them don’t work with CS4. The rest display fine.

    All the videos play fine in VLC. I’m a bit hesitant to do the firmware update considering the date on it is Dec. 2007. The Mino HD wasn’t even available then.

  8. rocketstail replied:

    I’ve been editing an interview I did on the Mino HD with a VIP from a script-writing software company and ran into a ton of problems in terms of FCP taking FOR-EVER to do standard operations… turned a typical 20-minute sound edit into a 4-hour operation… NEVER again. Thanks. The remaining interviews are going into iMoveHD and then the camera is hitting the the children’s toy-shelf. UGH. And did anyone notice that the sound is picked up on the wrong side of the camera? What’s with that?

    • Dave replied:

      For the price I didn’t have the highest expectations for the Flip Mino HD. I wouldn’t use it in a pro situation especially as you’ve noted the audio is not the greatest.

      For family stuff I’m very pleased with it for the price.

      I have used it for a few talking head projects that were going to straight to web with no editing. But I wasn’t real excited about it, it was more ease of use.

  9. Jaqai replied:

    I’ve attempted to give the firmware a go – but it appears to do jack and squat with the HD camera. All well.

    I don’t anticipate professional results, but I sure wish I could easily use the source footage in FCP for quick funy/silly projects.

    That said, I’ve accomplished decent results converting the video using streamclip – I just wish it was a quick plug and play that would allow me to skip that step.

  10. Viidar replied:

    Thank you for adressing this problem with Flip Mino HD and FCP. I too have the problem with the General Error in FCP and it it sooo annnoying…:)

    Will check out the update from theflip.com now 🙂
    Hopefully it works..

    Regards from Norway 🙂

  11. jaqai replied:

    Since I’m pretty much 100% intent on using this for web videos (I don’t actually need HD), here is the work-flow that has been working quite well for me:

    •I’ll attach my mino HDcamera to my computer

    •Using it as a hard drive, I kick MPEG Streamclip 1.92 into gear and have it change all of the videos on the Mino HD to a local folder with the following settings: Apple Motion JPEG A, 75%, at the dimensions of 650 X 354 with interlaced scaling deselected. (.dv was giving me intermittent issues.)

    •When I take this footage into FCP, despite being a somewhat odd resolution (This is the resolution of what YouTube uses for “HD”) the video edits and works just fine and is *roughly* the same file size as the video I’m taking of of the camera. (This also helps me due to the fact that I have a tiny 100gig hard drive on my MacBook pro.)

    Final cut pro plays the files fine without rendering and lagging on frames so I’m able to edit much more quickly. I realize I trade in true HD for this technique, but that is fine – as I’m never going to make a blueray from what this camera captures regardless. It’s always been a destination web tool for me.

    Hope this is at least soooomewhat helpful. Here is one sample of a quick “intentionally guerrilla” video I put together for work using just the mino HD and this technique:

    • ola replied:

      great tip! thanks a lot. nice video btw.

  12. ianmalcm replied:

    The general error often occurs for me when I add a clip that has the end of the take/file. In other words, if the timeline does not include the first or last frame of any clip, error is avoided.

    No getting around the audio rendering issue. Maybe Cisco will release the compression codec Flip uses soon. Still would rather have working audio render files than transcoding everything.

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